Pickle fans will fall over themselves in glee for these pink-hued radish pickles. The recipe take minutes to get in the jar, and then they’re ready for all the things that deserve a pickle.
The aluminum on plastic runners squeals crisply, and I hear the screen door rubbing along its track. Wet feet slap the linoleum, echoing through the open room as the hard floor and skin made slick from the pool come in contact with each other. The refrigerator sucks air in on itself followed by the satisfying pop as the seal is broken and the door pulled open.
From across the house I imagine the incandescent light casting its yellow glow across the contents in the tranquil, afternoon sun-lit room. I hear the clinking and clacking of containers being pushed against each other and the bottles in the door jostling as the door swings shut as I approach.
Standing there in her swimsuit, blonde tresses matted into a crown that deems her queen of the backyard pool, my daughter is elbow-deep into the pickle jar. With one arm wrapped around the tall glass jar holding it tight against her lycra-clad body, she’s using the other as pincers, dipping into the briny water and coming up with small deep green cornichons. Pool water and pickle juice puddle at her feet.
Repeat this scene with all the pickles. The tables that line the rows at the farmers market are loaded with produce perfect for pickling: fresh cucumbers, beets, asparagus spears, green beans, and pretty pink radishes, their tips fading to a bright white.
There are certain things that are dictated by summer: soft beach towels with bright patterns, fizzy drinks, ribbed tank tops, sunglasses as big as your face, berries warmed by the sun, swimsuit tan lines, and pickles.
Don’t scoff. My kids, who barely touch the pickle container all winter, have gone through multiple jars since the weather turned. Apparently Vitamin D absorption and pickle consumption are highly correlated.
These are best within the first five days of making them. They start to lose some of their crispness and crunch after that. I make them a bunch at a time, knowing that we can consume them all in one sitting. The pickling takes away a bit of the peppery bite of the radish and turns it into a natural spice for the vinegar and honey base of this pickle. Though, this variety, which go by the French breakfast radish moniker, have less bite than some varieties to begin with.
Simple and unassuming, these pink pickles can be added to sandwiches, tossed on top of eggs and salads and crackers, stirred into rice dishes, or tucked into spring rolls, or just eaten directly out of the jar. Let me know how you end up using these bright bites of summer.
1 cup vinegar (apple cider, rice wine, champagne, red wine)
1/2 cup cold water
1-2 tablespoons honey or granulated sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 clove garlic, sliced
Thinly slice the radish bulbs (or julienne or quarter depending on preference) and place them in a jar. In a small saucepan combine the vinegar, cold water, honey/sugar, sea salt, and the garlic. Stir to combine, bring to a boil, and then remove from the heat.
Pour the vinegar mix into the jar. Place the lid on the jar. Allow the radishes to sit until cool. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 10 days.
Makes 2 cups pickled radishes